Useful phrases for letters for General Training IELTS Writing Task 1.

depositphotos_7932028-Quill-pen-and-ink-well-with-paper-scrollIn my posts IELTS Writing Task 1 – Informal letters layout and IELTS Writing Task 1 – Formal letters layout, I talked about the importance of getting the layout of a letter right, in preparation for General Training IELTS Writing Task 1.

In this post I’d like to look at some useful phrases and language for formal letters and informal letters. I have deliberately kept the list short by thinking of the most useful letter phrases for the IELTS Writing Test.

If a phrase is more suitable for an informal letter, I have marked it IF. If a phrase is more suitable for a formal letter, I have marked it F.

Useful language for IELTS Writing Task 1

Referring to previous contact

• It was good / nice to hear from you….…(IF)

• Thank you for / With reference to / Further to / In reply to your letter of / dated……….(F)

Beginnings / Introductory phrases

• I’m sorry I haven’t written / haven’t been in touch for such a long time…(IF)

• It’s been ages since I’ve heard from you. I hope you’re well……(IF)

• I am writing to enquire about / to confirm that / to inform you of…..(F)


• I am writing to apologise for / about…..

• I am sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Giving news / information

• I thought you might be interested to hear about / to know that……

• This is just to let you know that………..(IF)

• By the way, have you heard about / did you know that…….(IF)

Recommending / Giving advice

• I would/wouldn’t recommend……

• If I were you, I’d ………….(IF)

Endings / Concluding comments

• I look forward to hearing from you soon / in due course…………(F)

• Looking forward to hearing from / seeing you soon…………(IF)

• Once again, thank you for all your help………….

• Give my regards / love to………….(IF)

• If you have any further questions, please contact me on ….(F)


This is only a small selection of useful letter phrases as my aim here is to give you the ones I think are most useful for IELTS.

So how should you use this list? Well first of all, I recommend that you DON’T do what I see a lot of people do; learn the list off by heart!

You should look at the phrases and think about the situation / context you would use it in. When you’re doing IELTS Writing Test Task 1 practice letters, think about which phrases are suitable and use them.

If you’re short of time, look at sample IELTS Writing Test Task 1 questions (you can find many sample questions as well as other useful tips in Adams & Austen IELTS books.) and think about which phrases would be useful.

If you learn how to use some ‘letter phrases’ appropriately, together with a good letter layout, you’re on your way to achieving the IELTS band score you need.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

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